One Up, One Down On Weekend Trip To Wayne St. For Women’s Hockey

Head coach Scott Wiley and the Raider women’s hockey team wanted a strong showing last weekend against Wayne State in order to prepare themselves for their first ECAC games today and tomorrow. Instead, the Raiders returned from Michigan after splitting two games with the Warriors, leaving them with things to prove in this weekend’s games. The Raiders won their third game in a row last Friday as they defeated Wayne State, 3-2. The Warriors sprinted out to a lead seven minutes into the first period when they snuck the puck past sophomore goaltender Brook Wheeler, who was making her first start of the season. Senior captain Cheryl Setchell netted her first goal of the season at 12:21 of the opening period, with assists from sophomore Ashley Bradford and first-year Kate Wolgemuth. With the score knotted at one, it seemed as if the teams would go into intermission tied. However, junior Becky Irvine lit the lamp with 10 seconds left after a pass from first-year Cassie Reid, giving Colgate both a 2-1 lead and momentum heading into the second period.First-year Mallory Johnston tallied her first collegiate goal 3:19 into the second period on the power play. Wayne State added its second goal just 45 seconds later, but Johnston’s goal proved to be the game-winner as Wheeler and the Raiders held on for a 3-2 victory. Wheeler, who appeared in seven games last year and posted four wins, made 14 saves – including seven in the third period – en route to the victory.”Brook has been working hard this year to improve,” Wiley said after the game. “She deserved the opportunity to show she can play. With [starting goalie] Rebecca [Lahar] being a senior this year, we wanted to give Brook some playing time. I thought she got better as the game went on and played very well.”Lahar found herself back in net for the second game, but Wayne State jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first after slipping one by the all-ECAC goaltender seven minutes into the period. Junior Becky Irvine tallied her team-high fourth goal of the season as she scored a power play goal at 16:33 of the second period, with assists from senior captain Chelsey Rhodes and Lahar. After starting the period tied at one, the Warriors exploded for three goals in the third, although one was scored after Lahar was sent off for an extra attacker. With the 4-1 victory, the Warriors improved to 3-3-0, while the Raiders fell to 3-2-0. “I think in the first game we played just well enough to win,” Wiley remarked. “While we didn’t play a flawless game, we found out that we are able to win games even when we aren’t playing to the best of our ability. In the second game we came out flat and stayed flat throughout the whole game.”One factor that contributed to the Raiders’ loss on Saturday was their inability to create scoring chances by getting shots on net. On Friday, Colgate out shot the Warriors, 27-16, but Wayne State turned the tables on Saturday, registering 23 shots on net to Colgate’s 16. Colgate will need to increase its shots on goal and come out with more intensity to have any chance in this weekend’s games. Tonight, Colgate plays its biggest game of the season so far as it travels to Cambridge, MA to take on Harvard. The Crimson come into the game ranked third in the country and undoubtedly will come ready to play in their first game of the season. Last season, the Raiders lost to Harvard twice, 2-0 and 4-3. Having already knocked off nationally-ranked Providence this season, Wiley knows that his team can play the underdog card once again. “If we come out with confidence, we may be able to put them on their heels,” he said. “We need to come out and dictate the game in order to have a chance. The team that usually wins is the one that plays well, not necessarily the most talented one.”The same game plan applies for tomorrow’s away game against Brown. The Bears are currently ranked 10th in the nation and are coming off a win against Maine. Colgate and Brown faced off twice last season, with the Raiders losing 3-1 in their first meeting and 2-1 in overtime in the second matchup. This season will be a successful one for the Raiders if they are able to win close games in league play. Last season, the Raiders’ record in ECAC games decided by two goals or less was 3-9-1. But this is a new season, with the Raider women beginning with a clean slate in the conference. The Raiders will try to play David to Harvard’s Goliath as the puck drops at 7 p.m. tonight on Harvard’s home ice. Tomorrow, the Raiders take on Brown at 4 p.m. in Providence. Wiley knows the importance of these two games, as they may dictate the tone of his team’s play in the ECAC for the whole season. “They are very important games for us because I think we are measured by how we play against teams in the ECAC,” he said before a pause. “It’s go time.”